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Estonia – Banking

Estonia is a small but technologically advanced country located in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is known for its e-government and innovative start-up scene, and its banking sector is no exception. In this article, we will explore the main local and international banks in Estonia, the services they offer to expats, typical bank opening hours, and how to open a bank account as an expat.

Local Banks in Estonia

There are several local banks in Estonia, including:

  • Swedbank Estonia: Swedbank is the largest retail bank in Estonia, with a market share of around 40%. They offer a wide range of banking services, including personal and business accounts, loans, and investments.
  • SEB Pank: SEB Pank is the second-largest retail bank in Estonia, with a market share of around 22%. They offer personal and business accounts, loans, and credit cards, as well as investment and insurance services.
  • LHV Pank: LHV Pank is a relatively new bank in Estonia, established in 1999. They offer personal and business accounts, loans, and investments, as well as a range of fintech solutions such as mobile payments and investment platforms.
  • Coop Pank: Coop Pank is a cooperative bank that offers personal and business accounts, loans, and credit cards. They also have a range of digital banking solutions, such as a mobile app and online banking.

International Banks in Estonia

There are also several major international banks with a presence in Estonia, including:

  • Danske Bank: Danske Bank is a Danish bank with a significant presence in Estonia, offering personal and business accounts, loans, and investments.
  • Swedbank AB: Swedbank AB is the Swedish parent company of Swedbank Estonia, and also has a presence in Estonia. They offer corporate banking services such as financing, trade finance, and cash management.
  • Nordea Bank AB: Nordea Bank is a Nordic bank with a presence in Estonia, offering personal and business accounts, loans, and investments.

Accounts and Services for Expats

Banks in Estonia generally offer a range of services that are useful for expats. For example, most banks offer accounts in multiple currencies, which is useful for those who earn money in a different currency than the euro. Additionally, many banks offer online and mobile banking solutions, making it easy for expats to manage their accounts from anywhere in the world.

Bank Opening Hours

Bank opening hours in Estonia are generally from 9am to 5pm on weekdays. Some banks may have extended hours on certain days, such as being open on Saturdays, but this varies by bank and branch location. Additionally, many banks offer online and mobile banking solutions, which allow customers to manage their accounts outside of regular banking hours.

Areas of Concern

While Estonia has a strong and stable banking system, there are a few things that expats should be aware of. One is that banking in Estonia is mostly done digitally, and many services may only be available online. It’s important to have a good understanding of the online banking system and security measures to ensure the safety of your account.

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Another area of concern is that some Estonian banks may have limited English language support, especially in smaller branches. It’s important to choose a bank that offers English language services if you don’t speak Estonian.

Lastly, it’s important to note that Estonia has strict anti-money laundering regulations, and banks may be required to ask for additional documentation or information about the source of funds for larger transactions.

How to Open a Bank Account in Estonia

Opening A Bank Account

  • Research and choose a bank: Do some research on the different banks in Estonia and choose one that suits your needs. Look at their services, fees, and language support.

  • Check the requirements: Check the bank’s requirements for opening an account. This may include providing personal information, such as your name, address, date of birth, and identification documents such as a passport or ID card.

  • Apply for an account: You can apply for an account online or in person at a bank branch. For non-resident accounts, you may need to provide additional documentation, such as proof of address in your home country or an explanation of the source of funds.

  • Authenticate the account: If you’re opening a non-resident account, you may need to authenticate the account in person at a local Estonian embassy or consulate.

  • Wait for approval: The bank will review your application and may ask for additional information or documentation. Once approved, you’ll receive your account details and can start using your account.

Opening a bank account in Estonia is generally straightforward, but the process may be more complex for non-residents. It’s important to have all the necessary documentation and information ready to ensure a smooth process.